Jalen Carter is one of the most talented and versatile defensive linemen in the 2023 NFL draft class. He has the size, strength, speed and technique to dominate at any position along the front.
He was a consensus All-American and a finalist for the Outland Trophy at Georgia, where he helped the Bulldogs win the national championship last season.
But Carter is not satisfied with his accomplishments on the field. He wants to prove himself to the NFL scouts, coaches and executives who will determine his draft stock and future earnings.
He wants to show them that he is more than just a physical specimen, but also a smart, hard-working and passionate player who can make an impact on any team.
That’s why Carter has decided to push back against the pre-draft process that many top prospects go through every year. He has declined to participate in the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine and any private workouts or interviews with teams.
He has also refused to sign with an agent or hire a trainer. He says he wants to focus on his academics, his family and his health, and let his game tape speak for itself.
Carter’s decision is bold and unconventional, but it is also admirable and courageous. He is challenging the status quo and taking control of his own destiny. He is not letting others dictate his value or his future. He is trusting his abilities and his instincts, and betting on himself.
Carter is also setting an example for other top prospects who may feel pressured or exploited by the pre-draft process. He is showing them that they have a choice and a voice in how they prepare for the next level. He is encouraging them to stand up for themselves and their interests, and not to compromise their integrity or their well-being.
The pre-draft process is not a fair or accurate way of evaluating players. It is often based on superficial measurements, outdated drills, biased opinions and irrelevant questions.
It does not account for intangibles like leadership, character, work ethic and passion. It does not reflect how players perform in real games, under real pressure, against real opponents.
The pre-draft process is also not a healthy or beneficial way of preparing players for the NFL. It is often stressful, exhausting, invasive and distracting. It can take a toll on players’ physical, mental and emotional health. It can interfere with their academic obligations, their personal relationships and their professional goals.
The pre-draft process is not a mandatory or necessary way of entering the NFL. It is a voluntary and optional way of showcasing players’ skills and potential. It is a privilege and an opportunity for players to impress teams and improve their draft stock. But it is not a requirement or a guarantee for success.
Jalen Carter understands this. He knows that he does not need to go through the pre-draft process to prove himself to the NFL. He knows that he has already done enough on the field to earn his place in the league. He knows that he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by pushing back against the pre-draft process.
More top prospects should follow Carter’s lead. They should question the pre-draft process and its value. They should weigh the pros and cons of participating in it. They should make their own decisions based on their own circumstances and preferences.
They should not let anyone else tell them what they need to do or how they need to do it. They should not let anyone else define them or limit them. They should not let anyone else take advantage of them or exploit them.
They should be like Jalen Carter: confident, independent and defiant.
Final Thoughts: Jalen Carter Sets an Example for Prospects in Challenging the Pre-Draft Process
Jalen Carter’s decision to push back against the pre-draft process is a courageous and admirable move. He is taking control of his own destiny and showing other top prospects that they have a choice and a voice in how they prepare for the NFL. The pre-draft process is not a fair or accurate way of evaluating players, and it is not a healthy or beneficial way of preparing them for the league.
Carter is right to focus on his academics, his family, and his health, and to let his game tape speak for itself. He has already shown that he is a talented and versatile defensive lineman who can dominate at any position along the front. He has nothing to prove to the NFL scouts, coaches, and executives who will determine his draft stock and future earnings.
Carter’s decision is also a challenge to the status quo and a call for reform in the pre-draft process. More top prospects should question the value of the process and make their own decisions based on their own circumstances and preferences. They should not let anyone else tell them what they need to do or how they need to do it.
The pre-draft process should be re-evaluated and redesigned to be more fair, accurate, and beneficial for players. It should include more relevant and realistic drills, more objective and comprehensive evaluations, and more support and resources for players’ physical, mental, and emotional health.
The NFL should also consider alternative pathways for players to enter the league, such as developmental leagues, apprenticeships, or internships. These pathways would provide more opportunities for players to showcase their skills and potential, while also giving them more time and guidance to prepare for the rigors of the NFL.
Jalen Carter is a trailblazer and a visionary who is leading the way for a new generation of prospects. He is confident, independent, and defiant, and he is setting an example for others to follow. The NFL should listen to his message and embrace his vision for a better and more just pre-draft process.